Sunday, November 23, 2014


We grew cabbage this year. Despite all the aphid killing I had to do (though spraying aphids with the hose on the jet setting is surprisingly cathartic,) we got some pretty nice looking heads. They weren't very tasty, however. They were kinda hard and kinda over-crunchy, and kinda tough. Not delicious enough to eat straight up. I made cabbage soup out of one head, which was good, but decided something else was in order.


I Googled some tips and decided to keep the operation small, (I only had two smallish heads) and go with the mason jar method.

You guys, this is so easy.

First I spent about 30 minutes chopping cabbage into kraut-sized pieces... so, small. Of course, as I was just finishing up and congratulating myself on not injuring any of my phalanges, I cut off the edge of my fingernail. No blood, but a nice dose of adrenaline, that's for sure.

Next came the fun part. I put all the shredded cabbage, about 8 cups of it, into a large bowl, sprinkled about 2 teaspoons of sea salt over it and started kneading and massaging the hell out of it. Actually, the whole point is to massage the moisture out of it so it has a brine to soak in. After about 10 minutes of sweet sweet massage, it packed it into two large, sanitized  mason jars. Even after packing it really well, I still didn't have enough liquid to cover the cabbage, so I made some more brine with water and sea salt and poured it into the jars.

I covered the jars with a wash rag secured by a rubber band, and left them to sit on the counter to get their "sauer" on. I read that there was a chance that stuff could grow on the top and things could start looking funky, so I was a bit nervous. For the first few days, there was some serious fermenting going on, because a lot of air bubbles would collect in the jars around the shredded cabbage. To remedy this, I would just use a spoon to pack the cabbage down into the brine a couple times a day to squeeze the bubbles out.

After about 4 days, the bubbling stopped. At a week, we tasted it. It smelled like slightly sour cabbage, and tasted pretty much the same. It was starting to get sour but was more salty. So it stayed on the counter. We tasted it again about 5 days later, and it was better, but not quite. So it stayed on the counter for about 2 1/2 weeks total.

And you know what? No funkyness. Ever. The color of the cabbage got a little darker, the green-ness went away, and the flavor just came gradually.

Such an easy way to make the summer harvest last a little longer.

Time to get me some brats.

When packed together, I ended up with a whole mason jar of sauerkraut.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quick Homemade Dryer Sheets

So it's flannel sheet season.

While Eddy was napping this afternoon, I decided that it was time to give our bed the winter makeover. I pulled the flannel sheets from the linen closet, only to be greeted by sheets that just smelled funky. Like closet. They're clean so I didn't feel the need to wash them again, but I felt like they needed a quick romp in the dryer with a dryer sheet.

There was one problem. I don't have dryer sheets. I haven't bought them in years. I don't really know what's on them and since Shawn and I both have sensitive skin, I just tend to avoid them.

But I still needed something to get the closet smell out. So, to the internet I went, and found some info on homemade dryer sheets.

Holy cow, this may be the quickest project in Urban Hobby Homesteader history.


Find some fabric you can cut up. This could be an old t-shirt, or in my case, a crappy dollar store dish towel that has been sitting in my closet for years without use. You will also need some white vinegar, essential oils of your choice, and a container to put it in (I chose an old peanut butter jar.)

First cut up the fabric into dryer sheet-sized pieces. Mix a quarter cup of vinegar with 5 drops of essential oil (tea tree in my case) into your container and shake it up. Add the fabric and they're ready. You can make more solution when you need it and reuse the pieces of fabric by throwing them back in the jar.

My staging skills leave a bit to be desired, but you get the picture.
Non-toxic, no waste, super cheap, and smells good. Everyone wins.

And to end, here's Eddy in her Halloween costume jammies - NASA astronaut!

Frickin' adorable.

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